Shell Oil spent $4 billion exploring for oil off the coast of Alaska including $2.2 billion to purchase rights from the United States government. They found 27 billion barrels of oil. Obama’s EPA, however, has denied Shell the right to drill. Why? Their environmental assessment did not include CO2 emitted from an ice breaking vessel. Seriously.
The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.
“What the modeling showed was in communities like Kaktovik, Shell’s drilling would increase air pollution levels close to air quality standards,” said Eric Grafe, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on the case. Earthjustice was joined by Center for Biological Diversity and the Alaska Wilderness League in challenging the air permits.
At stake is an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil. That’s how much the U. S. Geological Survey believes is in the U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean. For perspective, that represents two and a half times more oil than has flowed down the Trans Alaska pipeline throughout its 30-year history.
This was almost certainly approved by the White House and is certainly not because of C02 emitted by a single ice breaker. It has everything to do with this.